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Europeans “touched to pay” three billion times in the last 12 months – cementing contactless payments’ growing popularity


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London, 11 May 2016: Contactless payments in Europe passed a major milestone today as Visa Europe announced three billion contactless transactions were made in the last 12 months – nearly tripling that of the same period in the previous year. Figures show that European consumers used their cards 360 million times in April, alone – that’s nearly 140 transactions per second and a 150% increase from the 143 million transactions in April 2015 – with the average value rising 12% to €13.83.

Contactless payments as a proportion of all Visa-processed face-to-face payments have risen from 1-in-60 in 2013 to more than 1-in-5 today. The popularity of this fast way to pay has been driven by new “everyday spend” merchants incorporating contactless into their check-out. Consumers have been using contactless to pay for their lunches, lattes and much more, with restaurants experiencing the greatest year-on-year growth in contactless transactions (153%), followed by general retail (146%), super markets (119%) and, food and drink including fast food (96%).

Today, there are more than 3.2 million terminals used in stores and restaurants across the continent, up 23% from 2.6 million at the end of April 2015. This rate will continue to accelerate as most new payment terminals deployed across Europe from January this year are contactless-enabled, helping merchants achieve the target of all terminals in Europe accepting contactless payments by 2020. Visa Europe is working with banks and other partners to give consumers access to at least one contactless payment device (including card, mobile, wearable, etc.) by 2020.

Consumers in the Poland, Spain and the UK use contactless the most. British contactless adoption grew by 300% from 51 million transactions in April 2015 to 153 million in April 2016. The continued success of contactless commuting on Transport for London services is one reason for this accelerated growth, as there have been more than 400 million contactless journeys since launch (nearly 9 in 10 of which have been using Visa cards). Additionally, the launch of mobile payment service, Apple Pay, as well as the Barclaycard’s bPay solutions, have encouraged consumers to adopt new ways to pay. Some of the most popular contactless merchants in the UK include Tesco, The Co-Operative, Transport for London, McDonald’s and Marks & Spencer.

Tristan Kirchner, Executive Director, Product Management at Visa Europe said:

“The last 12 months has seen contactless payments continue its extraordinary growth as this quick and convenient form of payment reaches more consumers and merchants throughout Europe. This kind of success hasn’t happened overnight, and it’s down to the sterling efforts across many teams at Visa and the wider payment industry making today’s achievement possible while setting the stage for tomorrow’s technology, including new wearable devices and mobile payment services.”